The Wild ROVer..


Hey Everyone,

I've been moving toward ground vehicles over the last little while and I started building an add-on FPV setup for my Traxxas Slash 4x4. Over the weekend I finished up the main plate for the ROV gear. I have added the Ardupilot 2560, Mediatek GPS and original minim-OSD along with a 900mhz 500mW FPV transmitter. The camera is a RMRC-540 OSD model.  I've since added a police light bar for kicks to the roll cage. The truck uses full head-tracking with Fatshark Predator Goggles. I had it out for a spin and its wild. Almost makes you sick at full throttle but I am absolutely hooked.

I DIY'd the pan/tilt setup for the camera and I really need to find a better solution and am open to suggestions. There is alot of slop and I end up getting alot of major shakes when moving at slow speed. It is basically a Futaba 3003 on the bottom and it pans the entire setup. Another Futaba is on the back for tilt. I'd love some suggestions on where to get a better pan/tilt. I was thinking of using a Servocity servo-block setup.

The second radio system for the head tracking is a Turnigy 9x with a DJT and D8R-II combo. The RSSI works well and immediately lets you know where you are not suppose to be. I will eventually control the entire ROV movement with this radio but for now it is just doing secondary head tracking functions.

I am working on my ground station and I have flashed the Ardupilot with Ardurover code.

Needed: 900mhz Xbee's!!!!

I'd love to hear comments/suggestions on how to improve this setup.


note the DIY'd pan/tilt hack from a few mini hobbyking FPV pant/tilts....

Here is the co-pilot :)

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  • Moderator

    it is definitely too fast for it, especially with the wide angle lens. I'll check out the servo blocks for sure. Do you have ayn pics of your pan/tilt setup?

  • T3

    Definitely go with the ServoBlocks. I used it for the pan on my FPV Tonka Summit and it worked great. You'll only need one unless you need something for tilt too.

    The 4x4 Slash is a nice truck but if you're doing FPV, I think it might be a bit too fast for that. It gets difficult to control, although it doesn't mean you shouldn't use it.

  • Admin

    Hey Grips,

    Nice work! I am presently working on a modified Traxxs E-Maxx that I built from parts off of eBay. If you are starting to get into rovers you might like to join the ArduRover User Group.



  • Grips,

    Nice truck!  I'm doing something very similar but am adding a Arduino mega and an xbee onboard the truck to simulate the RX inputs to the APM1.  I hacked an old truck TX with an Arduino chip and an XBee and a custom built telemetry protocol.  With this setup, I can get all all sorts of signals from the TX to the RX.   My plan is to add the headtracker signals to my home grown telemetry stream.     

    For my quad, I have a RMRC-520 and am using a two axis camera gimbal from:

    I actually hacked the fpvpilot gimbal with a ServoCity Servo-block for the quad's roll axis and used the fpvpilot's tilt axis as is.    For my truck, I will be purchasing another camera mount from fpvpilot or I may build a 3 axis one using Servo-Blocks - those things are sweet!  Just started thinking about it.

    I'm interested in following your progress. 

  • Grips, i'm sorta thinking you may be able to . the head tracking simply transmits up down right left to the two servos. same as your right stick on the plane.. sorta, right, that could be fed into apm and back out to servos again. you could pull osd off the camera apm... I have no clue how to write the code for it, it just seems so easy in theory.

  • hey grips whats up with your hexa ?and nice truck

  • Moderator

    that is an interesting idea. Its too bad I can't have the head tracking go through the APM and then out to the servos for the camera. That would be sweet.

  • wonder if perhaps another apm with plane code on it or some newly created slave code to run on the second apm that would control the camera. this way you'd get gyro stablized camera that you could potentially hook up to another ground stations to track the camera in addition to the ground control that's tracking the car. the nasa rovers have directional abilty on the car as well as directional of the cameras so you know the car is pointing north and you panned the camera east... just a thought.

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